Last Thursday I posted about two of my New Year’s Resolutions: to cook more frequently and to become a regular exerciser. And as promised, this week I’ve been going to the gym.

This clearly should not come as a shock to anyone, but going to the gym is hard. It feels great later, but it’s hard.

Here’s a quick journal of my gym time this week:

Sunday: Woo! Going to the gym! Getting my butt in gear! Yeah! But I remember the advice of others—start small so you don’t get burned out—and I do just 15 minutes on the elliptical machine. (I also do some crunches, and exercise my soon-to-be defined biceps.) I feel good. So good that I drag J to the MoMA after my workout and take those pictures in yesterday’s post. And then I have the nerve to drag him to Union Square looking for a gym bag because I need one. (Who goes to the gym without a gym bag?) I found an adorable black and pink one from Puma. We go home and I cook chili-dusted pork chops with strawberries and grits (see Jan 7). YUM.

Women’s Health says that in order to make going to the gym a habit, you have to go three days a week for five weeks in a row. Yes, I think I can do this. According to Leo Babauta (Zen Habits, 6 Changes), one of the most important keys to making something into a habit is to have a trigger. This week, my trigger is coming home from work. Every day, when I go to work, I’ll take my new gym bag—completely equipped for the workout ahead (shoes, pants, t-shirt, sports bra, socks, iPod Shuffle, lock, lip balm, gym card, ponytail holder)—and go to the gym immediately after work. This is good idea: the gym is at 76th St, and the subway is at 77th. Also, I know myself, and if I can find a way to talk myself out of going to the gym later in the evening, I’ll do it.

Monday: This is my first day of my new “habit.” And on this day I do something incredible. Unbelievable, even. I run. But not only do I run, I run at long intervals, with a lot of energy. Never in my life have I been a good runner (even when I ran track I hated running, though I did like to sprint), but for some reason, on this day, I look like a pro. I have my music playing (Beyoncé and JT cheering me on), and I dream of becoming a real runner: the kind of runner that goes running outside, seven days a week; the kind who has the right kind of pants! (For my birthday last year, my sister gave me a pair of Lululemon running pants. They’re really serious-looking, which is great, but until now they’ve been kind of tight, so I’ve avoided wearing them. These are the pants I’ll wear when I become a runner.) With this small success, my mind gets ambitious. By the end of the year, I’ll be running a 5K! a 10K! a half-marathon!

Tuesday: Killer migraine. Lesson: drink more water.

Wednesday: I’m still thinking about my run from Monday, but I decide not to go running again until tomorrow. I do the elliptical instead for 25 minutes, but leave the gym feeling energized. I go home and cook skillet gnocchi with chard and white beans. (Go home and immediately try this recipe. Seriously—go!)

Thursday: After lunch, I check My Plate and discover that I’ve only eaten 38% of my calories for the day. This doesn’t feel good: I’m a little bit hungry all day. When I go the gym, I try running again. And even though I’m doing two minutes of walking for every two minute of running, I feel like crap, and so, so very tired. I leave feeling exhausted and hungry, so I go home to eat the other half of the gnocchi we made last night. Lesson: eat enough food.

Overall, I feel a bit proud of myself. I’m shocked that I had enough energy after work to go to the gym, but it’s definitely inspired me to take my bag to work next week too. Also—maybe this is clear—because I tend to be a bit obsessive (but not for long), I’m trying very hard to stay focused on working out and eating well, without a) burning out, or b) losing interest.

Today I’m not scheduled to go to the gym—I’m trying to take it slowly, remember?—so I’m going to spend the day taking pictures for Unravelling and working on a very special project… (you’ll see in about a month).  And tonight, the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall!

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Interested in keeping tabs on my resolutions? Want to know how many days I let things slip? Check out my Daytum page. (I update it every night.)

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I’m supporting long-term reconstruction of Haiti by donating to Architecture for Humanity.

What have you done to support the earthquake victims of Haiti? What organizations do you recommend?

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